Friday, December 24, 2010
From Boston, Mass, comes Girlfriends, playing some of the absolute BEST garage rock I've heard all year. I can't seem to find much information about these guys (and girl?), except that they are a relatively new (past few years), unsigned band from Boston, MA, still playing only locally. I checked out their single called Gov't Seizure (backed with Creep Stuff) and it basically blew my mind, so I had to share. A raunchy romp & stomp of a single, sung with a fantastically drunken slur, this is a must-hear for garage rock fans. While at their Band Camp site, check out Girlfriends' EP, self-titled, and their other single, Good To Be True. While not as in-your-face-excellent as Gov't Seizure/Creep Stuff, those other releases are still great and show enough promise that just put this band on my permanent radar. They've got a lot of their songs up on their MySpace, too. I hope to hear a lot more from Girlfriends in 2011!
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Nice to hear from new favorite around here, Audiodeluxe, that their perfect-for-winter-time, warm, trippy, psychedelic tunes are now available on an EP. Self-titled, with five fantastic songs, their debut EP is right HERE on their Band Camp page. Go get it before the snow starts falling, it's PERFECT music for right now.........
Monday, November 15, 2010
There is a new album out from our beloved sunny psych music-makers, The Flower Machine. It's called Lavender Lane, and it's just perfect. Lavender Lane is not completely new: it contains six new tracks mixed in among eight well-known and adored, remastered quintessential Flower Machine songs. Seven are from previous Flower Machine releases and the eighth remaster is from Trip Inside This House's Summer of 2008 gift compilation album, a little song called Traveling By Trampoline, one of my personal big favorites by The Flower Machine. If you know the music of The Flower Machine, then you know how Peter Quinnell's smooth vocal style, his whimsical lyrics, and mellotron-tinged melodies can enchant you in such a way as no other can. The pure charm & whimsy of the songs, their delicate, sunny vibes, can put a smile on my face when even the worst mood is upon me. How can you not love that? If you have not yet heard The Flower Machine, what the hell are you waiting for?! Go get Lavender Lane, set your tea, toss in a little sugar and spice, have a sip and listen to The Flower Machine. Relax, things just cannot be that bad, even for just a little while........
Now it's my pleasure and honor to give you one of the best reads you will have all year: to go along with the release of Lavender Lane, a little q&a with Peter Quinnell himself:
So, Mr. Quinnell, do you actually own a trampoline?
I don’t own one, as the building regulations are rather strict where I live. It’s a converted convent across the street from a park near Sunset Blvd in Silverlake, and a lot of the flats seem to be occupied by nuns still. I ran into the property manager at 2 a.m. the other night coming back from band rehearsal, and he clued me in to some of the things going on around here…deeply shocking. The pool area is apparently being used for love-cult rituals, and a bi-weekly swap meet where heavily tattooed people exchange incense and Hendrix bootlegs. That’s Los Angeles for you…
Describe for me your perfect day, include the season, and what makes a day special for you.
A perfect day would be waking up in a top-floor flat on the Rembrandts Plein in Amsterdam with $9,000 in travelers checks, walking up the Utrechtsestraat to Concerto and buying some impossibly rare vinyl picture discs from Luxembourg, then going out for drinks and reggae spliffs, and meeting some hippie girls who decide that I simply must come back with them for tea at their home, which would look exactly like David Hemmings’ pad in Antonioni’s 1966 movie “Blow Up” and have an analog 16-track studio that I could use indefinitely for free. Season? Preferably Autumn, but I’m flexible on that…
If you were to pick a bouquet of flowers for me from one of those 'pick your own bunch' fields, which would you choose?
21 purple Zinnias with one pink rose in the middle.
Let's go out for brunch, where shall we go & what shall we have?
The perfect brunch would have to take place by a lake in Central Park. It would be nice if there were swans too. The restaurant would have to have lots of tapestries and sitar music. Apple martinis to start, followed by tangerines suspended in mid-air and tiny squares of alpine milk chocolate arranged in a mosaic pattern on top of orange ice cream.
What music have you been listening to lately?
This is the part where musicians typically start droning on about how they only listen to pre-war blues or Bulgarian choral music to appear sophisticated – sod that, I say. I’ve been on a T. Rex jag lately – I put on my Italian red vinyl copy of The Slider, and it stayed on the turntable for 2 weeks straight. That’s probably one of the best records in the history of time. I’ve also been listening to demo recordings of Steve Peregrine Took …the Missing Link cd with Seventh Sign, Days, Syd’s Wine and Lucky Charm…incredible music with unintelligible lyrics recorded in a basement – the polar opposite of what his ex-bandmate Bolan was doing, but equally compelling, in a way.
The idea behind Lavender Lane was to take some older songs & remaster them, and mix them up with some new songs, right? I assume this was because The Flower Machine joined the roster at Rainbow Quartz? Who are some of your fellow label-mates now?
Something like that, although the chronology is rather more bizarre. We’d been on Microindie, a small label in Grand Rapids, for years and years. Toward the end of 2009, following some sessions in Ohio with my friend Todd Tobias, we for some reason simultaneously veered off into making a weird record that was sort of like a prog-rock science fiction opera that took place in 1951 called The Velvet Curtain. Brian Webster (keyboardist/engineer/co-producer) and I put the thing together at my house and dubbed all sorts of weird stuff on…one track was a 16-minute mellotron epic…just utter madness from a commercial point of view. We sent it to Microindie, and he was very nice about it and came out to LA for a couple of dinners, but I imagine he thought I’d gone a bit bonkers, and nothing concrete came of it. So I went shopping for a new label over the summer and sent out some discs. I was talking to an A&R person at Subpop for a few weeks, but then Rainbow Quartz’s president Jim McGarry rang me up from New York and wanted to do a 14-song album and rush-release it in November. That was incredibly flattering, and as it happens, RQ is the only label that has bands that I’m actually a fan of, such as Rockfour, the High Dials, The June…people we could relate to, in other words, so that was an easy decision. Jim then asked me to send over everything we’d ever done, so I sent him hours of material, and he spent most of a weekend plowing through all that and came back with some really sharp insights on what we were doing and how to present it…I was floored that he took the time to do that. I couldn’t be happier about how that all fell together.
Do you still have problems with neighbors swiping Netflix, or any other incomings to your postal box?
Not lately, but I finally gave up on using Netflix, because no matter which dvd I ordered, they’d only send over old Pippi Longstockings films. As you can imagine, after only a few months that becomes quite boring. I signed up with a new service that delivers the dvd to your door within 30 minutes. The selection is limited though…they only have episodes of Gilligan’s Island, hardcore porn from New Zealand, and the first season of Welcome Back Kotter.
What have you been reading lately? Anything old & obscure & wildly interesting?
I’m reading the new Syd Barrett biography “A Very Irregular Head” after Syd Barrett’s nephew Ian recommended it to me recently. I’ve read the others, which in my view are rather one-dimensional, but Ian says this book nails it, and he’s absolutely right. Definitely the best thing written about Syd thus far, and unique in that the author spent a lot of time with Syd’s sister Rosemary, the only person close to him in the post-London years, so there’s quite a lot of new information and insight into Syd’s decision to withdraw from public life, and his perspective about being relentlessly hounded by journalists and door-steppers, which carried on till the day he died.
Have you met anyone worth mentioning lately?
A resounding “no” on this question. I recently went through a horrendous break-up with my ex-girlfriend, and wound up going on a few ill-advised dates, one of which involved being propositioned on a Hollywood rooftop at 1 o’clock in the morning by a girl who was literally falling-down drunk. I’m thinking of moving to Kansas to meet a nice farm girl, but there’s a train strike at the moment.
I wish I was in LA to see your upcoming performance at Spaceland. Who else is playing with you & are you excited for this event, record release party?
Quite looking forward to it, yes…Saturday, November 27th is just around the corner. I don’t know much about the other bands we’re playing with, but it’ll be our first show with our new drummer Mitch Ross. Mitch’s playing is like a cross between Ringo and Bill Bruford…fantastic player. Plus he’s only been in the band for two months, so he’s not all jaded already or hooked on heroin or anything…
What is next for you & The Flower Machine?
I’m writing a novel based on the 1918 Treaty of Versailles, which I hope to turn into a lawsuit. I’m also scribbling away for our next LP, which will probably be a concept album about a little-known event in the life of Suzi Quatro, involving a prominent minister in the Church of England and a pair of purple Perspex water wings.
Any tarts left? Shall I have some over-nighted to you from NY?? Do they have to be pineapple?
A few of the nuns dropped by to vacuum and dust the other day, and they ate all the pineapple tarts…very naughty. So, any tarts you’d like to send would be lovely. Pineapple, tangerine, candy cane, cinnamon, menthol…we’re not fussy.
Peter, thanks so much for answering my questions!
My pleasure – it’s nice to chat with someone one-on-one, as opposed to relaying things through trial lawyers…
I know, attorneys, I'm not into them either, too serious, everything is so complicated.......I prefer things simple & charming & fun, like Peter and his music. Thank you once again, Peter Quinnell, my best to you and The Flower Machine!
Sunday, November 7, 2010
6Noir, from Paris, France, recently released their debut EP, a self-titled, 4-song, mind-blowing debut of an EP. The band have a signature sound: the dark, dusty, sultry sound of the old American West, which they have woven brilliantly into the fabric of their songs. I am not talking spaghetti-western, which psych fans may know as the type of western-style music favored by Spindrift, Federale, and Los Sundowners. I adore the spaghetti western of all those named bands, of course, but 6Noir has gone for something different with the western flair, something bigger and more epic, and immediately they come on to the scene with music that captivates with stories sung over twangy western-style guitar, and stomps of heavy drums and bass lines. Deep, rich sounds of growling guitar compliment Prisoners; False Sun gallops along a driving beat with tambourines, as strums of guitar fill the song. Salvation, a slow-burner with lovely lyrics, builds to a crescendo, lets down to a descrescendo, on and on, with the big guitar ride missing in so much of today's rock music. The West is just, well.....The West echoes with the twang & stomp so perfectly played by 6Noir, such a swagger, indeed. You can practically hear the spurs *click* on that one, a true highlight of this debut EP.
6Noir is a three-piece: Raphael sings, Louis plays guitar, Roscoe drums. For a three-piece, their sound is huge. Sometimes I think I am listening to a five-piece. The guys are relatively new to the music scene, starting out as a band in May, 2009, in Paris, and now that they've finished and released this brilliant debut EP, they are working on their second EP (to be released in January 2011), and for the more distant (hopefully not TOO distant) future, a full length album.
The band is in the process of packing up their gear and a few belongings, and moving from France, down to that mecca of all things psychedelic, Sydney, Australia. They are quite excited about this move, as they don't really find France as the place for them and their music, and feel the scene in Sydney will be more receptive to them as serious musicians. Sydney seems to 6Noir to be the place for them to really open up as a band, get involved in music seriously, and find like-minded people to spend their time with and play their music for. Raphael says "(Where we are now) we don't feel as a part of it, and as matter of fact, I wouldn't say there is an actual scene, call it whatever you like to, but we see many bands, and we know them but we feel most of the bands are just trying to be the new Rolling Stones (!) , the new Strokes, the new Black Keys....the thing is, Paris doesn't care about the essence of music. Some see music as an opportunity to make some dough and organize "rock n roll nights", but it's all fake and full of trends. People come, they might enjoy the night, they get drunk, and those who organize stab the artists in the back really..." 6Noir feel the opposite is true of Sydney, and I am inclined to agree, knowing what I know of the Sydney scene......ALL of Australia, really. That country has given us psych fans an ungodly amount of fantastic music in recent years. We certainly are lucky that musicians from down under make their music and send it all over the world to the rest of us. Good to know 6Noir will be finding such a great new home to continue doing what they're doing, surrounded by people who appreciate it for more than just a drunk night out! I, for one, cannot wait for their next release.
Check 6Noir's own website for more music and info.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
From Austin, Texas, Bloody Knives is a duo, Preston and Jake, who have released an album, called Burn It All Down. Burn It All Down is absolutely certain to be on my personal list of BEST OF 2010. Citing influences such as practically all the deadly sins, and many more descriptive terms from the dark and evil things in the world, Bloody Knives has created a vibe with their music, made from guitar, synth, and driving percussion, that feels so damn fantastic to get lost in......the entire album from start to finish, is like one long wave to ride; it's exciting music, makes you feel like you're underground riding a fast, dark train. The evil imagery might be there, yes, but the music is not grating, or harsh, in any way. Instead, I can honestly say there is an actual 'lightness' about this music, which has nothing to do with anything pretty or mundane, and everything to do with Preston's vocals, which are not buried within the music, but stand out as they are sung over and above the driving, pulling beats of drums and the smooth sweeps of synths. The guitars are what bring the darkness and depth, so constantly there is this interplay between light and dark in these songs. Bloody Knives music most definitely pulls elements from a multitude of different musical styles, from shoegaze, to post-punk, to electro, to psychedelic. These guys masterfully meld all of this together to create a most mind-blowing piece of work.
See the band's Band Camp page HERE, listen to Burn It All Down in full. That is a full-service Band Camp page where downloads and CDs to purchase are available. Also listen to their self-titled debut EP, on the right side of the page (equally mind-blowing as the album). Take advantage, friends, the CDs are limited edition. ***Mine is on its way.
***After being the owner of Bloody Knives' complete catalogue of recordings for a few weeks now, I have to say, this is more than just incredible music. When you order the CDs from the band themselves, what they send you is not JUST a CD. All CDs and accompanying artwork are made by hand, and they are exquisite. Splashed with dark paints, lyrics, and disturbed old photos that are devilishly captivating, the entire package a collector's item. Follow the links from the band's Band Camp page, given above, to get your copies of the album and EP.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
In true independent, DIY spirit, so beloved by this writer and music blog, Audiodeluxe is making some of the most intoxicatingly trippy electro/guitar music to come out of Scotland, or anywhere, today. Audiodeluxe is husband/wife duo Dez Bone and Sammy McHugh, who are combining their love of heavy guitars with electronic music to make their own music, reminiscent of late 80s/early 90s electro, but with a fresh, modern sound which most surely nods to the trip hop genre, a style I consider to be the height of great electro music. Also, feeling the vibe of legendary Depeche Mode, and being big fans of that pioneering electro/guitar band, Audiodeluxe are writing and recording, all themselves, songs that melt the mind, and make you sway, easing back into your seat, with a drink, a smoke, and a smile......
A bit of insight into the band's inspirations and what they are up to in their neck of the woods, from Dez himself:
Who are the members (is it just you & Sammy)and who plays what?
Sammy: vocalist, lyricist.
Dez: guitars, and any other sounds that that aren’t vocals.
A Husband and Wife team which I personally think is the perfect music making partnership...the wife might disagree.
Where exactly are you based & what is the music scene like where you are? How do you feel you fit in it, do you like it, is there a creativity felt & seen throughout where you are? Is there an inspiration for you there?
We’re based in the village of Moodiesburn just outside Glasgow; there is a thriving music scene in Glasgow however, I’m not sure we fit in that well with it. It’s geared more toward guitar lead bands or the occasional full on electro outfit because they are the in thing at the moment, and we sort of stand on our own doing what we do.
Where do you find your main inspirations from (other musicians, artists, nature, anything at all that inspires you)?
Well the band that has had the most influence on us is Depeche Mode: we’re both massive DM fans. Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, The Smiths, and the artist formally known as Prince (we don’t listen to him but we appreciate the fact he does what he does), are also in there somewhere. Month Python: the films and sketches (not the music) you can’t beat a bit of python style nonsense. Closer to home Sammy’s family are very musical and have had a big influence on my guitar playing; Sammy’s brother and I took up the guitar around the same time and had many a good night annoying the neighbours while learning play; and her sister is probably a better guitarist than us both. Also our bizarre circle of friends, the village we all grew up in and the various reprobates that populated it also had and still have a massive influence.
Are you recording for an EP album?
We sort of record songs as the ideas come to us: it’s a never ending process.
Do you perform a lot at local venues?
We play the occasional gig here and there not as often as Sammy would like as I’m more interested in working in studio and she’s a bit of a show off.
I think there a lot of people who would LOVE your style of music, which I think is trippy, ambient psychedelic style, trip-hop, if you will. Where should I direct people who are feeling the vibe of this style of music?
Our Myspace page should be the first port of call for anyone wanting to listen to our music or get in contact with us.
What are your plans for the band & what should we look for from you in the near future?
We’ve got a few new songs on the go, and hopefully a few gigs to showcase the new songs.
Trip hop and guitar/electro music fans, rejoice, and check out what Audiodeluxe are doing to perhaps help you relax, get lost a bit, ease off the stress, forget the mess, end the day easy........you get the idea. I think you know what I mean. It's what music is all about to people like us. Dez, thanks for introducing me to your music and doing our little interview, cheers & love!!
Check the band's YouTube channel for more trippy visuals and tunes.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
The Silents are a young four-piece band from Perth, Western Australia, formed around 2003, making music heavily influenced by The Beatles' psychedelic sound. Using a lot of jangly guitar riffs and garage rock-style choppy drums & rhythms, they released an album and two EPs with this style of retro, 60s-inspired sound. But their recent release, from earlier this year, called Sun A Buzz, sees The Silents taking quite an exploratory journey far above and beyond anything jangly and Beatles-inspired. This album is not only VERY psychedelic, it's highly creative and original, and completely engrossing (I can't stop listening). Many of the songs have a captivating swirl of sexy, evil vocals and guitars, and almost tribal drums. You can feel the concept at work here, a thread that weaves through the songs from start to finish, and this keeps your attention, as you get excited to hear where the song is going next. You can listen to four of the songs from Sun A Buzz on The Silents' MySpace player, and I suggest you do so NOW. Gone are the traits of their earlier recordings, which are fantastic in their own right, but left behind by the band to explore this fuller, richer, expansive psychedelic world of simply exquisite compositions. Please have a listen to The Silents, and enjoy it, my friends. I know you will.
An earlier song by The Silents, Nightcrawl:
The Snail, from Sun A Buzz:
Friday, August 20, 2010
Psychedelia fans, grab this one while you can. Get the download HERE as soon as you can, for it is only FREE for one WEEK (date of this post is 20 August) Helicon, New York loves you and thank you for this!!
Friday, August 6, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
The music of The Radiation Line, from Stirling, central Scotland, is highly experimental, and quite psychedelic indeed. If psychedelic music is intended to extend one's mind into sonic spheres of ever-expanding, new and exciting states of expression and experience, The Radiation Line may lay claim to be the kings of this domain. Out of the six very limited edition EPs the group has recorded, four are sold out, but I was able to obtain copies of EP3 and EP4, thanks to James.
The Radiation Line's music is not for the faint of heart, rather, it is for those who love the sound of drone and how it can take you through to another level of consciousness. Many of the tracks on EP3 and EP4 use drone to pull the listener through the sounds. From EP3, Kommissar is sparse and spooky, yet the whispered vocals and light twang of guitar lend it an irresistible air of sexiness. The Mask Is Made of Flesh is thirteen minutes of ambling drones, dark and deep. Tourist (Part 2) changes the pace to rapid-fire prose which darts through a semi-electronic race of a song. Bella Victoria is a quiet end, with hints of the darkness which is the intriguing vibe of EP3.
EP4, here are the track titles: Lift Off, Now The Clouds Have Meaning, To Rot In Orbit, In Reflection of the Great Mirror We Knelt and Wept, As Heaven Was Revealed, Spiral. Get an idea of the ride you are in for? Scratchy, spaceship-style sounds and drones, long trips through wobbly space where your head wanders into the heights of the drono-sphere, are what make up EP4. James and Euan blur the line between inner and outer space brilliantly, as you can practically see the warping of everything real around you.
For those of us who love to experience experimental psychedelic sounds, The Radiation Line are creating some of the most incredible music we could possibly hope to hear. Minimalist, yes. Drone-driven music, yes. Fascinating new ways of twisting sounds into psychedelic trips for the music-loving mind, oh yes. Indeed.
Click here for a fantastic interview with The Radiation Line.
Photo courtesy of the band's MySpace.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010
A wise friend of mine, a true lover of all music psychedelic, turned me on to Wolf People not too long ago. Tidings, the first real, accessible release from Wolf People, quickly became an obsession of mine, and it's easy to hear why, after just a sample, which, if you have not heard them yet, you can find here at their MySpace page player.
Tidings is an album made up of 7 songs, with many smaller interludes and fragments filling in spaces between songs. Sounding like it was made four decades ago, and making use of elemental natural imagery such as fire, water, earth, and air, Tidings' songs evoke much more than I could ever hope to explain, and that is what I am stressing here: if there is one album you need to experience this year, this is it. With songs that can sound catchy and jaunty, but at the same time, lyrically be a bit dark, about soldiers, knights, and burning displays of fire, Tidings is nothing short of a brilliant, psychedelic masterpiece. There is so much to uncover with repeated listens, beyond the initial charms of the upbeat tunes with the snazzy, jazzy guitars and accents of unexpected little surprises like the ting-ting of tiny piano keys.
Wolf People is a four-piece with Jack Sharp fronting the band (guitar and vocals), Tom Watt on drums, Joe Hollick on guitar, and Dan Davies on bass, all late 20s/early 30s of age. Though most of Tidings was written, performed, and recorded by Jack as home demos, now the band is hard at work, together creating the songs that will make up their next album, and they have a few performances on their gig calendar, if you are in the UK and can catch them live. Jack took some time out of his very busy schedule of recording, to do an interview for me which I am quite pleased to present to you now. This gives some great insight into an amazing band's work:
Terri: What is your musical background and how did you guys get together to form Wolf People?
Jack: Me and Tom grew up in the same village and have been in bands and made music together for about 15 years, we made hip hop instrumentals for a while which got us into record collecting, which then opened up a world of psych, folk, Jazz, prog etc and we eventually started getting into playing instruments again.
I made most of Tidings on my own then formed the band to play the songs live. At first we didn’t know what we were doing but the band has grown up out of that, writing more material and trying to improvise more. The next record has more input from the band, more like we are live.
Where are you based?
We try to cover as much of England as possible. I am in the dead centre of the Country in Bedfordshire, Joe lives in North Yorkshire and Tom and Dan live in London.
We play all over England and rehearse in London and Bedfordshire so you could just say we’re based in England.
Whose idea was it to abandon the standard album structure of 9-12 songs of similar length & use the interesting structure of songs broken up by fragments?
When we joined Jagjaguwar they were really keen to re-release songs we had put out before on singles and EPs but I wanted to make it slightly more interesting for those people who had already bought those singles.
I love the first few Mothers of Invention albums because of the oddball edits and fragmented songs so I was aiming for that free sounding cluster of odd sounds and samples. I wanted it not to flow too smoothly and sound like what it was: a sketchbook of home recordings.
Who or what do you think inspires you as artists?
I found it a lot easier to make music when I moved out of London. Having access to the country and having time and space to think opened me up to writing a lot more.
We share a lot of music between the band. Tom always seems to be finding some amazing record that informs my listening habits for the next few weeks. Most recently Mikel Ramel and Flasket Brinner.
What are you listening to these days?
Mikel Ramel and Flasket Brinner ;). Going through another Beefheart phase. Mighty Baby - Jug of Love. Dark - Darkside. Nic Jones - From the Devil to a Stranger.
What gear do you use? Anything out of the ordinary? What guitar are you playing to get that identifiable sound?
On the Tidings recordings I used anything I could find, usually adding other instruments to guitars for lead melodies. I think I used a glockenspiel, a thumb piano, sitar, piano. I couldn’t afford to buy any effects or instruments so I just used what I could find or borrow. I would usually sample all the notes and play them back with the MPC, that’s what I did with the piano.
The guitar tone for the majority of that record is a 90’s Epiphone SG through a tiny harmony amp recorded onto a cheap domestic mono tape recorder. Sounds cheap but it's got heart, I think. I didn’t have a bass either so I just down-tuned the guitar for the bass parts.
Tidings is basically home demos but I knew I’d never better the feel of them because for the most part the performances are the first and only time I played them. I would run over the parts only until I had something I liked, record it, and move on. It’s a fun way to make records and one I’d like to return to.
Have you been touring around the city, country, anywhere else? Any place you'd like to end up? Been to NY yet? If so, want to come back?!
We play around the UK quite a bit. Basically playing anywhere that will have us. We’re looking forward to playing in Europe and we can’t wait to get to the US. We are trying to be patient, waiting for the right time for us to come over, most likely when the next record comes out.
For those of us already in complete love with Wolf People's Tidings, their next record, Steeple, has just been finished and will be due out this coming October. A big thank you to Jack Sharp for doing this interview: fans from all over the globe wish you the best and thank you for your music!
Tidings is available on iTunes, and through Jagjaguwar Records.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Fans of psychedelia: Chris Bruno, of Sophomore. Peacock, brings you a trip for the visual and aural senses, right here:
The music is made by Chris and company, the video is Mindscape by Jacques Drouin, 1976. Enjoy. Hit replay. Enjoy. Hit replay.
The music is made by Chris and company, the video is Mindscape by Jacques Drouin, 1976. Enjoy. Hit replay. Enjoy. Hit replay.
Monday, June 28, 2010
I love a lot of bands. There is so much creativity and talent in independent music today, and I feel lucky to be a part of it all, seeking out exciting artists who make music that DOES SOMETHING FOR ME, something TO me, presents to me a different world for a little while, a world only psychedelic music can let you enter. So the love is there, for many of today's artists who are giving this to me; however, once in a while, some very special band finds its way to me. In the past I have profiled some of these bright stars in our psychedelic musical cosmos: Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor, Sky Picnic, Lucifer Sun, Pilot Cloud, and of course, the namesake and inspiration for this blog, Black Market Karma, have all graced the columns of DSK as artists who have something special to offer us and who want to say something to us. I love getting into the heads of musicians I admire and respect. It just makes their music mean all that more to me. John-Paul Hughes from Helicon, a band from Scotland, featured on Trip Inside This House's Summer Solstice 2010 psychedelic compilation (out now, go get it if you have not!), is my bright star to present to you today, a true Sirius in sky of our love, psychedelic music!
Helicon make music that will leave you feeling in awe of your experience, and will have you scrambling for the repeat button. Take The Ride EP is drone-heavy and dramatic, a big sound made from layers upon layers of guitar effects, all swirls and conflicts of light and dark, absorbing and deeply engaging, endlessly intriguing. Requiem for a Dreamer EP contains destined-to-be-psychedelic-classics, a mind-blowing cover of Neu!'s Hallogallo, and their contribution to Summer Solstice III, Panic, Everything is OK, and a song that give me the shivers every time, Requiem. Listen to these songs on Helicon's MySpace page.
Here is what John-Paul Hughes, singer and guitarist for Helicon, shared with me about some things that are important to us music fans:
Terri: The first time I heard of Helicon, was as part of Trip Inside This House's BEST OF 2009 feature, and you were rightly chosen for THAT honor! Now, the members listed on MySpace are all the current members? You are a 5 piece?
John-Paul:Yeah we’re a 5 piece and all current members who’ve been here from the start. Gary and I are brothers. Laura is now Gary’s wife so has gone from an O’Brien to a Hughes and Steven and Martin are good friends of ours. Gary Sharp is the old “6th member” and looks after us for promotions, gig bookings etc etc as well as contributing to musical ideas and, being a drummer himself, has chipped in with some little bits of percussion on our EP’s.
You have been active as a band for about 2 years now? You sound as though you've been playing together forever. There is a vibe there, something the initiated person can zone in on immediately and feel. That is incredibly important for a music fan such as myself. I'm sure you understand what I mean, and think that connects you to your songs and their listeners.
Thanks for that. Yeah we’ve only been together 2 years and in all honesty have played what is comparatively, by other bands standards, only a handful of gigs. It genuinely means a lot from a lover of the same type of music as us to hear you say that as I don’t think it’s something that can be faked or played with and used as some sort of fad. We mean what we do. If you really want to make psychedelic music it has to come from a very real source and experience. If you’re jumping on the latest fashionable band wagon then those who understand the music will suss it out in no time at all. What we do is not pop music and should never try to be. It’s for people like you who get it and have already been indoctrinated in the ways of psychedelia and all it stands for so you pick up on the vibe of it straight away. You need to have an unflinching belief and love for it to be able to go out and play and suffer the confused looks and “constructive criticisms” of audiences who think that music begins and ends with X Factor contestants and corporate pop concerts disguising themselves as music festivals.
I'm not very familiar with Scotland & its scene. Can you tell me a little bit about it, what the music scene is like, what the city scene is like, how do you feel about it and how does it affect your music? Do you feel close to anyone else in music there, maybe a close-knit community who all support each other? I'm interested in what it's like where you are based.
On the whole, the music scene in East Kilbride doesn’t exist, which is something we’re hoping to help change. Glasgow is a very frustrating place. Very insular, parochial and predictable in their tastes. The amount of utter shite indie-pop garbage that is spouted is ridiculous. It’s hardly surprising though as high street stores and major record labels have hijacked what was once considered an attempt for Glasgow to subvert normality. When every second person on the street, at gigs or in pubs looks like a Franz Ferdinand reject with straightening irons and an eating disorder who’s been kicked through a Top-Man store, it’s hardly surprising this mass brain-washing has diluted the live music being heard. It appears the current buzz word around the scene these days is “Psychedelic”, which is anything but what most of the bands we come across actually are. I’m not intentionally having a go at any other band in particular, they’re just doing their thing but jumping on the band wagon of whatever seems to be the latest trend is fucking obscene. There are a few bands out there trying to do it the right way and really mean what they do and we’ve been fortunate enough to play with a couple of them but we definitely seem to be understood and appreciated a lot more in places like the US and Australia
I’d say geography has definitely had an effect on our music but The Jesus & Mary Chain, Mogwai and The Twilight Sad are really the only Scottish bands we’d draw influence from. There is definitely something inherently Scottish, especially Glaswegian, about our lyrics in the sense of their sneering sarcasm and cynicism and relation to the darker side of love and life. You cannot fail to be influenced in some way by religion, drink and drugs in this part of the world such is their effect on our society... for good and bad.
You have released 2 EPs, one with 3 songs, one with 4. From what I can see, you've quite a great reception to these. Are you playing a lot of gigs around town?
We’re really happy with them. Our manager Gary Sharp has been working hard on this for us. Our primary focus for these self-releases was to simply get the music heard and gain exposure. So we’ve basically tapped in to individuals, media and communities who, as fans, we were already aware of and whose work and musical appreciations we already respected. We’ve had amazing support from local ‘independent’ media, and it is very inspiring that these guys are working to incredibly high standards, typically for no profit, in their spare time to help promote what they, and we, perceive to be good music. Especially as it would be very easy for them to commercialize their venture’s to raise their own profiles by featuring more popular, but shit, bands… which thankfully they’ve chosen not to do. The nature of our style possibly makes us harder to find than most bands, but we know that the people who do manage to find us are the people we want on board… the type of person who actually takes the time to listen to music, form their own opinions and attend gigs. The internet is a great tool and gives us exposure to great bands, radio stations and magazines all around the World. The people who were playing and reviewing the music we love when we started are now giving us incredible feedback and exposure, which is amazing and gives us more self belief to continue in the way we’ve begun.. To hear our songs on radio shows we love, or to be conversed or written about alongside some of the bands we love is a great buzz, whether that’s featuring in a track listing alongside the Black Ryder, Helicon being praised as a band, being compared to the Warlocks, or having your EP in a list of ‘must listen to’s’ beside the Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Smoking Acid EP. It’s all fucking great in our opinion.
We do have digital distribution for our EP, but we opted to knock back the offers of ‘we can get you in every online store in the World’ as it’s pointless to us at this moment in time. We instead decided to go with one independent distributor (although we’re in the process of adding ourselves to an Australian stores roster) and people can be directed to that if they choose to purchase our music. Typically we give our music away for free as we’re happy that people are keen to listen at such an early stage and word of mouth has been incredibly important for us. We have been receiving a lot of interest from independent labels, labels we have massive respect for, and ideally we want someone to help us finance recordings and help us take things to the next level. We are aware that there is a massive uprising going on with regards to what we do and who we like, and we want as many of these people as possible to hear what we have to say musically.
We probably don’t play as many gigs as we should or could but it’s what we really love. On the odd occasion we can get a sound engineer who understands what we’re about, someone who doesn’t think all bands should sound like the fucking Kaiser Chiefs and isn’t afraid to push the boundaries a little, it really can be something worth going out of your way to see. We’re in the process of adding a light show and maybe some visuals to this along the lines of those early freak out 13th Floor Elevators gigs, which should add a new dimension to our shows. We’re still relatively new to the live thing so we’ve never played outside of Scotland but we’d love to. Been a long time since any of us were teenagers so still have to deal with the harsh realities of earning a living so it’s been difficult..... until some bastard decides to start paying us for this that is! Ha ha
You are working on a full length album now, right?
Well, we’re just about to record it with a top bloke called Marshall, at The Old Mill Studios just outside Glasgow. He did our first 2 EPs and understands us perfectly. I also want to see his beard again, it’s incredible (Terri laughs! Excellent!)... We are also contributing towards a couple of psychedelic compilations and vinyl collections. I know you’re aware of our track on Summer Soltice Vol III by Valis from the immense US radio show, ‘Trip Inside This House’ and our psyched–up cover of Neu’s “Hallogallo” is with ‘Fruits de Mer Records’ and might be going out as a double A side. We’re really excited about these. Getting amazing feedback from guys like yourself, Valis, Drone, and some of the stations in Australia and the US, has really put the wind in our sails in terms of our writing, so we’re certain we’ll have lots for you guys to enjoy in the coming months.
John-Paul Hughes, thank you for contributing so much to us here, both your music and your thoughts. It means a lot to us. You are welcome back any time!
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Tame Impala may only be touring for their first full length album, but the young Australians have already made their way across the entire US, from California to New York, both supporting MGMT (out west and through the midwest), and playing small venues with local bands of a few East Coast cities. I had the immense pleasure of catching their Brooklyn, New York show last night at the wonderful little Glasslands Gallery, in the heart of the independent music scene of the city, Williamsburg, just a stone's throw from the famous Willamsburg Bridge and scenic waterfront and piers. Williamsburg is bursting with artists, musicians, cool small venues, and a creative vibe that is second to none. Tame Impala, playing at the art gallery/music stage Glasslands, brought with them their easy-going, signature fuzzed-out guitar rock, which they played to a sold-out crowd (and plenty of folks standing outside the open door!). Tame Impala's music is already loved by many, as it is a brilliant blend of psychedelic-style fuzz and guitar effects (I don't think I ever saw as many pedals as I did on Kevin's and Dom's floor-array boards!), mind-blowing drumming and bass-lines, and light vocals that sort of float above it all, almost in the clouds.
Tame Impala's live set for their Brooklyn gig was almost an hour of spaced-out jams after a very cool instrumental intro, a nice touch indeed.
Intro (an instrumental expansion of It Is Not Meant To Be)
Desire Be, Desire Go
Make Up Your Mind
Solitude is Bliss/Skeleton Tiger/Half Full Glass of Wine
Tame Impala, New York loves you. Thanks for visiting us and come again soon!
Watch Solitude Is Bliss and Half Full Glass of Wine from the show (thanks to Brian and ProAudioStar!):
Monday, June 7, 2010
Legends, so I am just posting a few photos and commenting that the 8-piece Brian Jonestown Massacre jammed it into oblivion last night. Thank you for the fantastic show, and all the amazing guitars, guys.
Webster Hall, June 6, 2010. When you open for The Brian Jonestown Massacre, you know you are something special. Cheers to The Young Sinclairs for having that honor and living up to the challenge! The 5-piece from Virginia brought their signature jangly, retro, psych rock to New York City's Webster Hall for a rocking-great set of many new, and a few old, songs that are nothing short of psychedelic brilliance. It's that combo they have perfected of 12-string Rickenbacker and Moog keys, gets me every time, full of energy and extremely infectious. This blog loves The Young Sinclairs. I wish them the best, and can't wait for the new release, out later this summer.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Normally I save the efforts of this music blog to give less-well-known artists some exposure, but last night I had the once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a part of The Church's 30th anniversary tour of the USA. Not only did they come to New York, but they came quite close to my home on Long Island, NY, to a small performing arts center in Bay Shore, a lovely little town on the south shore of the island. Steve, Pete, Tim, and Marty gave a spellbinding performance of a song each from every one of their main albums over the past 30 years, plus 3 songs in an encore that we, the small but adoring crowd, cheered and hollered for, earnestly. I'm sure The Church felt the love. Each band member changed up instruments many times throughout, and one was no less perfect and commanding than another, at any time. It was also more than just their music: they talked to each other and to the audience, and entertained us in so many charming ways. The music of The Church, be it ever-changing over the years, is always complex, superbly-composed, dreamy, far-reaching, beautifully atmospheric and captivating. I was ecstatic, and honored, to be a part of this very special event.
The set list from that performance:
The Unguarded Moment
My Little Problem
Under The Milky Way
Almost With You
Tear It All Away
Disarm (Smashing Pumpkins cover)
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Praise The Twilight Sparrow caught my ear some time ago, when I discovered the self-titled EP, consisting of four of the most hauntingly beautiful acoustic songs I ever heard. This EP was released in 2007, and now, three years later, Praise The Twilight Sparrow has released a full-length album, Color Map of the Southern Sky: 13 songs, all stunning in their stark, soft, style of woodlands folk. Mostly acoustic, accented with banjo and harmonica, and all sung by Pascal Hallibert in his gorgeous signature vocal style (it's as if the wind is delivering the words through the trees in the dark), these songs are quietly comforting with their uncomplicated beauty. A few of Color Map of the Southern Sky's songs retain the mildly dark and haunting sound of the earlier EP, like the song H.Wood. And one song straddles both releases, the song South of No North. Songs like Mist on the River, Tales From the Dark Seas, Lady of the Snow, and the album's closer, Enter the Cold, conjure up images of a long, deep chill, foggy twilight, and an overall hushed landscape. Although I listen to this music any time of year, it definitely does lend itself to certain times (autumn and winter), certain places (misty lake houses, a forest of ancient trees reaching to the gray sky), certain feelings (lost love, found faith). Praise The Twilight Sparrow's music is quite certainly mood music, but when you are in the mood for dark, yet beautifully dreamy folk songs, there are none better to lead your way, than these lovely compositions.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Sky Picnic live, a wonderfully psychedelic experience........this band has it all: the looks, the style, the vibe......the music is out of this world, pulled in from the atmosphere, warped all around you, such a phenomenal live experience. The songs translate fantastically to the stage. Although I must say, the stage at Lit is a bit TOO SMALL for the huge sound that is Sky Picnic's, a credit to this band's amazing talent.
Lost and Found (new song debuted)
Going Mad In Cambridge
Farther In This Fairy Tale
Hide and Seek
Unknown Regions (new song debuted)
Astronomy Dominé (Pink Floyd cover)
Universal Mind Decoder
photos by me.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Psychedelic soul......folk-a-delic......just plain fantastic, people. Silver Phial, from Los Angeles, California, USA: check them out now HERE. Smooth and lovely, full of spirit, full of soul. Review to come soon, but for now, enjoy the tunes on MySpace and on Last.fm. They are beautiful, and so is their music. What a vibe......life can be so good, can't it??
I have had the pleasure of owning and listening to Silver Phial's debut EP, Aeronautique, now, for a few weeks. Each time I listen, I find myself singing along. For those of you who enjoy a good dose of modern bands like The Quarter After, Thousand Dozen Gloves, The Stevenson Ranch Davidians, or classic bands like The International Submarine Band, or Mountain Bus, you will adore the country style folk-a-delic tunes of Silver Phial. Aeronautique consists of four original songs composed and produced by the band, and a cover of a tune by the wonderful Emmit Rhodes, Better Side of Life. Harpsichord-tinged Mountain Boy is a sweet tale from the countryside, where from hardships, dreams emerge and take a soul away from it all. Ohio is my sing-along-song: grab your tambourine, join in! The title track is a catchy, upbeat pondering of what could be, on the freedom of wings. The Emmit Rhodes cover, Better Side of Life, better than the original? Could very well be, it's a must-hear. The EP's closing song, Seasons of Love, a warm, sexy tune: bit of jazz, bit of sway, wraps it up perfectly.
Photo credit: Sarah Morrison, courtesy of the band's MySpace.
Friday, February 26, 2010
There is an album, called Further, by Kid's Garden. This album was released in 2007. Myself, I've been slipping into the psychedelic dream world of Further since some time last year. It's now 2010, and I am realizing how few people know the sheer joy of this album. It's time to change that!
If there is such a style of music as ambient psychedelic, Further will define that, perfectly. Songs are awash in echoes; reverberation fills the air. Some songs on Further are quietly introspective and lovely (1995, Winter's Song, Cold Water); some songs go for a big, expansive, swirl of sound (Ourselves, Can't See How, Show Me, Come Down); still others go for the unexpected and present you with music that is so original and creative, it's hard to believe this was made mostly by one person while still in high school. Higher, one of my most favorite songs from Further, uses an emenee chord organ, to create the almost-harmonica-like sound that breezes through the song, literally. The deceptively simple Higher, is actually a song that has probably the most creative use of a distorted acoustic guitar and bass I have ever heard.
Further is a musical journey that must be experienced from beginning to end, with no distractions. Repeated listens to the songs reveal their depth, complexity, and charms, and they will pull you along, tugging gently at the strings of your mind. Someone's heart and soul went into creating this music; this is clearly made with passion, and the originality and individuality of the music on Further is second to none. George Clanton, now 22 years old, is the creative mind behind the music of Kid's Garden. Feeling the urge to begin composing some songs on his own as a teen, George now has a full time drummer working with Kid's Garden, and did enlist some help from good friends who just happen to be in another band this blog adores, The Young Sinclairs. But much of Further was done by George with mellotron samples of flute and choir, synthesizer, distorted guitar and bass, and some of the sweetest sounding vocals (sometimes strong and right up front, carrying the song through, like in Show Me, sometimes light and airy and barely there, as in Higher) ever.
Deepest Skies I and II, and Further (On and On), carry on the dreamy ambiance way up into the atmosphere. With each song, Kid's Garden's album Further sweeps you up and away, wraps you into a warm cocoon, and loves you a little bit more as the moments pass by. You will not want this album to end. Buy the album straight from the artist himself, link is on MySpace. And YES, Kid's Garden is working on a second album and I will let you all know about that when it happens.
Through the generosity of the artist himself, you can listen in full, at your leisure, to the bliss that is Further by Kid's Garden, by downloading the album in MP3 format from HERE.
Thank you, George, for that link to download.
Watch a video for Show Me here:
To paraphrase a very famous saying, Truth, the 6-song CD release from New York's Dead Leaf Echo, is most certainly beauty, and love, wrapped up in a swirl of shoegaze-style dream-guitar........the theme of the 6 songs is easy to understand: Truth, do you seek it? Is it even there for you to find? The more you want it to exist, and the harder you look, the more obscure truth becomes until it vanishes all together......
Awash in dreamy layers of sound, Dead Leaf Echo's songs do not follow an old tenet of shoegaze-style artists: let the words blend in with the music, as another instrument might do. Instead, LG's lyrics are understood to be as integral a part of Dead Leaf Echo's music as any guitar riff might be. Act of Truth, the first single off the EP in 2009, was the perfect song to represent the entire set of six: at once conveying longing, caring, strength, and the ongoing search for what gets lost between us but remains infinitely important to us.
Though released last year, as a limited-edition EP, with a hand-numbered, original artwork design, the Truth EP now has a new single available through Custom Made Records, the song Half-Truth. The opening song on the EP, Half-Truth is a perfect example of why Dead Leaf Echo's music is so exquisite: huge swirls of dream-scape guitars, and lyrics that ponder what really lays beneath what we say, and what lays just beyond our grasps.
Dead Leaf Echo on MySpace
Get music by Dead Leaf Echo from Custom Made Music.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
The High Dials, from Montreal, QC, are like..........nothing I have heard ever before. I recently bought their album Moon Country. This is a 2 CD album, 14 songs long, full of charmingly sung, lovingly composed, bright, beautiful psych pop songs that can be filed under 'needs no mood to enjoy, just play all day and love it'. The High Dials' history and back catalogue is something I am still learning about, and thanks to the kindness of the band themselves, I plan on bringing you a full profile soon enough, but for now, I wanted to link the band's lovely website here, so fans of psych music can do a little exploring of their own. If you already know The High Dials, excellent for you, but make sure you buy Moon Country, it's a must-have in any psych lover's collection, trust me. If you don't yet know about this band, watch the video for Killer of Dragons here then go to their site and stream some music. More to come soon on The High Dials, but for now, watch Killer of Dragons here:
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Black Market Karma have been hard at work in recent months. The band has been playing gigs around England and France, and has been in the studio, recording and mixing the songs that will become their debut full length album. Fans who own Black Market Karma's debut EP, Psychedelic Circus, An Introduction, and who watch them gig all over town, are eagerly awaiting the announcement that the band's album is finished and ready to buy. Rest assured, I will be making that announcement here, as I know I will be one of the first to know when the album is ready.
For now, here is a lovely little update on Black Market Karma's recent whereabouts, from Stan, the band's frontman, singer, and guitarist:
We've pretty much spent the last 2 month recording and mixing non-stop. We had all the songs down before Christmas but we didn't wanna just take the easy way out and just get them sounding "nice" We've been spending most of our time trying to degrade the sound quality, if that makes sense? We really want the album to have that oh-so-hard-to-get "vibe", and that's basically what we've been doing every week. When we started mixing we actually worked on the last track first. It seems a bit of an arse-about-face way to do it, but we really knew where we wanted to take that track sound wise. The song's called Edrone and it's an eleven minute, psychedelic goodbye for the album. We spent a lot of time fucking up the drums and really trying to get that almost orchestral sound on the guitars, but we got there in the end. Now we've just gotta get all the other mixes on the same level. The record's really starting to shape up though and it won't be too long before it's pressed and out!
The other real highlight since Christmas was playing in France. We've made three trips there now and each time more and more folks are turning up to gigs. Our name seems to be spreading around Paris pretty quick and it's always a good feeling to see and meet a bunch of new people that have come out to watch you play. We've got a decent amount of gigs lined up over the next few months which will pretty much take us up to festival time. We're looking to play a few more dates in France around that time too. In the meantime, we're gonna be working on getting the album out there!
Last year, Black Market Karma became a five-piece band, when Sam joined them, and their sound became even more layered and complex than when they were a four-piece. To say I am waiting for this album with baited breath is an understatement! Watch this video of them performing their song A and G and join me in the anticipation!
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Time for me to take this blog back to its roots: to a young band from the UK, who just happen to be a slice of the same psychedelic heaven that Black Market Karma come from, AND they happen to be friends and gig partners with BMK. Daylight Frequencies is this band, and you HAVE to hear them, if you consider yourself even a small fan of today's psychedelic music. I, of course, am a BIG fan of this music, so I jumped at the chance to experience Daylight Frequencies' soon-to-come EP. From the beginning, from the opening swirls of Lions Den, which explodes into a psychedelic supernova that The Black Angels would be envious of, this five-song EP, the band's debut, is relentless. As Lions Den flutters to a close, Six In The Chamber pops one of those caps in you, with guitars that sound like an army. Rustic Bones, a just-evil-enough trip through the guitar walls with some heavy organ accents, slides you into The Day Thief, which growls and swirls full of the dirtiest guitar and heaviest pounding drums ever, and ends with you in a hypnotic trance. Where The Light Flows ends the EP with a slow and sensual groove that turns into an immense flood of, you guessed it, my favorite style of guitar: oh so dirty, and oh so psychedelic. Pretty much a perfect EP, from start to finish.
The demos of Daylight Frequencies were recorded mostly with three members, although the band does consider itself a four-piece, just looking for the perfect fourth, a permanent drummer. Luke kindly answered some questions for us, here is a little q & a:
You are friends/gig partners with Black Market Karma?
Oh yeah! They're a great band, we put them on in Leicester sometime last year for a psych night we did. We're hoping to get together to play some shows in France together soon. I know they've been over a few times and say the crowds are cool over there.
How long have you been together & working on this music as Daylight Frequenies?
We've been going about a year and a half on off, trying to get the line up right.
We were going strong until last summer our drummer left. We decided to wipe the slate clean, write and record all new material and start promoting that as much as we can.
What influences your music, from bands to anything else out there in the world?
A lot of bands, but i think also writers such as Hunter S. Thompson, Jack Kerouac, Aldous Huxley. These are all great writers. But a lot of our material comes out of jams at rehearsal, then we'll put our heads together and pick out the best pieces, listening back over a game of darts or something.
What would you want listeners to take as the 'experience' of your sound?
One review described us as "Strung out, heavy Psychedelia" which i think has a nice ring to it. We go for a big wall of sound, try and take the listener to a bigger place. We encourage them to close their eyes and just let it take them where it will.
Also, is there anything you would want readers to know about you & your band?
We'll be finishing the new E.P in March 2010, we're trying to get it released. But it will be available for download by the end of the month. Keep checking our Myspace for upcoming dates (if you are in the Leicester area, which I wish I was).
Daylight Frequencies has got that edge, that deep, heavy sound, that gets into your head and makes you a little mental. Their music will get into you. Check it out.
Thank you Luke, for your help with this. My best to you and the band.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor: this Detroit band's self-titled album is seriously deserving of more than just a listen or two. It is one of those albums where, the more you listen, the more you hear, and the more you are absorbed, and the more you are amazed. The first influences I hear are the grittiness of The Black Angels, and the song structure similar in complexity to B.R.M.C.-era Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. But these songs the Sisters have created.....each one slams right into the next one, the momentum pushing right through you like a tornado....
Lord Is My Gun is a gritty homage to the tough streets. Victims of Momentum warns you with the title, get the hell outta the way. Slow Suicide, haunting, engaging on so many different levels: the vocals, the superb drumming, the guitar work....this song grips you tightly. All You Lovers, one of my personal favorites, how can I not love this song: sexy swagger, shameless, dirty guitar.....what's the name of this blog again? Yeah, DIRTY SEXY KARMA. Yeah. Spaceman Blues, that song is a trip I do NOT wanna get off. Another huge highlight of this album, Spaceman Blues is just one immense swirl of a song, a total trip to the outer limits that folds back in on itself to swallow you whole. My third favorite song, Two Thousand Nine, more blow-your-mind sexy psychedelic swagger: meet you in the back room? Um, YES. But this song ends too soon. At The Gates utilizes some phenomenal drumming behind a guitar part that is pure psychedelia.
Sean sings and plays guitar, Eric plays bass and does backing vocals, and Rick plays drums for Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor. Time to get to know them a bit better by hearing it from the band themselves:
How did you three hook up and form a band? You had a former name and sound, correct?
Rick: Nobody in the band knew each other before we started playing music together. Eric and Sean met through email and social networking. They hooked up with their original drummer Scotty through the same method. However, things didn't work out with Scotty and they were without a drummer for a few months until they met me at a dance party in Ann Arbor called The Bang!. They asked me if I played drums and if I wanted to try out for the band and the rest is history.
We were originally called SikSik Nation the music was fuzzed out garage rock with some psych elements. We released one full length and an EP under that name after switching to a much more psychedelic sound we decided a name change was appropriate.
Are you doing this all yourselves, the producing and recording of your music?
Rick: We built and maintain our own studio. We did the recording and production ourselves; we even screen print our own record sleeves and t-shirts.
How is the scene in Detroit? I am not too familiar with it, so maybe you can tell me a bit about what it's like being serious musicians there?
Sean: Well Detroit seems to be heavily submerged in the pop scene as of now- we've poked through the water a bit as a psych band and turned a few heads, but as a whole the poppy-er outfits seems to get the most attention.
Where do you get your ideas from to make your music? I hear some seriousness in a lot of your songs, but I also hear some raunchiness here and there, which adds to the sheer enjoyment of your sound.
Sean: Society? or lack there of- music is one of the few things I actually take seriously in life- the raunchiness just come from humanity.
What artists do you feel influence you?
Rick: We have a lot of influences that vary from member to member. Some of the bands we share in common are Joy Division, Spaceman 3, The Doors, and The Velvet Underground. We also like plenty of modern acts like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Black Angels (ha ha).
What gear do you use? Ever blow out an amp??
Rick: Ah, some secrets are meant to be kept- but orange amps, lots of delay, theremins, bows, teisco spectrum guitars, Vox guitars, burns guitars, Ludwig vistalite drums- and a mass amount of other unconventional things. No way: amps are way too expensive to blow out!
Do you have a second album in you, as Sisters? More ideas for great songs?
Rick: We are a very prolific act; we will continue to make albums until it is no longer enjoyable. As of right now we have a handful of songs in production and hope to have another release this year.
Since I missed you in NY recently, I have been watching videos, as you guys are posting fantastic video diaries and films of your performances. Do you like the touring aspect of being in a band?
Rick: As a band we are making the transition from being a “local” act and moving around the country a little more. You feel like you get more accomplished when you play out of state and the experience is much more enriching. We hope to play at least 50 shows across the country this year. We have been experimenting with keeping video journals of our exploits, and so far it has been a pretty entertaining exercise.
When asked what he would like from music fans, Rick says:(We would like people to) download our record and tell us what you think. Some people think that bands only offer their albums for free because they are not confident in their product. That is complete bullshit. This record sounds way fucking better than anything we have ever paid for and we are giving it for free because we don’t care about money. We want people to hear what we have created and hopefully enjoy the outcome. Nothing in this band has been outsourced; everything from the recording to the merchandise has been done by the band. You will not be disappointed in our DIY efforts. If you are, then you have spent $0, so who cares?
The attention to detail in the songs that Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor play is apparent upon first listen, but to REALLY hear these songs, keep listening. They become an alternate reality. Their vibe sinks into you completely. This band has got the talent and the confidence to shake things up. They've got ME shaken up, that's for certain. These guys are doing it for all the right reasons. We love that mind-set around here.
Thanks to the band, for taking time to do this interview for me. I love them dearly for it.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Could Sky Picnic possibly be the most deliciously psychedelic band in New York City today? The answer to that question is a HUGE YES. Indeed, Sky Picnic are creating the most gorgeous, heavenly, tripped-out psychedelic songs I have heard in quite some time. I have read the term 'mind expanding music' used to describe Sky Picnic's music. I totally agree. As I write this, I am immersed in the swirls of atmospherics and the dueting, chill-inducing vocals of singers Chris Sherman and Leah Cinnamon. White Plane is playing through my headphones and I'm lost......completely tripped out for a while, letting the mellow vibe and the poetic lyrics wash over me. This is psychedelia at its BEST. Farther In This Fairy Tale, if you can tell from its title, is not only poetic and beautifully atmospheric, it's an album to listen to from beginning to end, to escape from what corners you in this world, and to make you think beyond the bounds of the typical. It is a lovely experience, a necessary one for people of our mind-set. I asked Chris Sherman about the album:
Farther In This Fairy Tale was intended to be more conceptual than an ordinary album, listened to from start to finish in order, without the outside world interruptions? Exactly. It's art. We're not just making music...anyone can make music. We're trying to give you an experience and to take you deeper into an alternate world and give you something to think about. The concept of the LP is the end of innocence and a journey to find yourself, although I hope people can draw their own meanings from there.
Universal Mind Decoder, I will say is one of the best songs I have ever heard: twelve minutes, at times big and lush, at other times hushed and calm.....a trip for the mind and the soul. Chris and Leah actually began their musical project using that song title as their name:
How did you all come together in NY & start making music?
Leah and I started as Universal Mind Decoder in mid 2005. We had a slightly poppy-er mid-60's rock type sound. That dissolved at the end of 2006. From there, we started Sky Picnic in 2007, brought in a drummer and started developing our sound closer to where it is today. It wasn't until Pete joined in Oct 2008 that we really got it together and became a cohesive unit.
When I listen to music such as Sky Picnic's, I always think of what influences these musicians, what drives them to create this art that makes me feel so good to have surrounding me. Dreamy sleep, flickering lights, mellotrons, sitars, and rainbow colors of a symphony (as a true synesthete would say, "I see the colors of the sounds.") are just a few of the things that influence Sky Picnic's music. What Chris says about their creative process:
I love the influences you list on MySpace. Can you tell me a little more about how you create your compositions?The songs usually start with an idea coming out of nowhere. I'll usually get a nice blueprint for it and THINK I know how it should go. I'll make a quick demo, send it off to the band, and we'll develop it in practice. Once it's in their hands, the song always surpasses the original vision. It's a pretty efficient process, although I really want us to get into more group writing.
I know there are alot of definitions of psychedelic music, but it seems that label gets thrown around rather loosely these days. A band who happens to use phased vocals over an acoustic guitar is automatically "the next Syd Barrett" and "very trippy" according to all the hipster blogs and mainstream media out there. And that's fine if that what they want to call it. (That just makes us more left of center.) But we are trying to give the audience a psychedelic experience. Improvisation is abound on stage, and, to an extent, on the record. Themes of astronomy, mythology, dystopian societies and life and death are the basis of our catalog. Clearly, we're not trying to become rock stars, and have no ambition to do so. We're making music we love about subjects we love, in the matter in which we want to. Hopefully that spirit alone draws people to our band.
Sky Picnic has also released a beauty of an EP, titled Synesthesia, five songs equally as gorgeous as any song off Farther In This Fairy Tale. Using sitar swirls and lyrics that make me think of Alice In Wonderland's world, this EP breathtaking. Sequence IV is a musical journey of epic proportions. The band's full discography, all available to you, is:
Synesthesia EP- 2008
Hide & Seek (single)- 2009
Farther In This Fairy Tale- 2010
The CD of EP and LP are available at all shows and via IndepenDisc. MP3's are via Amazon.
A heartfelt thank you to Chris. Photo credits are from the band's MySpace. My best to the band, hope to see you in February!